Looking back we are very happy with our performance in Dubai. We arrived there full of expectations after a long and hard preparation and we were looking forward to a good tournament playing good rugby back on the international scene after not having had, in a way, good performances in the year following the Olympic Games.

I think in Dubai, even if there is still a lot to go through to get better, and we have to analyse our performances in many ways, the team responded well. We finished in seventh place, beating England in our final encounter in an enjoyable game and now we must go through our games to see what we can do better.

Undoubtedly, the games were very hard and the second day showed that we must work harder on our fitness. Against Russia we were probably not at the same fitness as them and against New Zealand we didn’t have possession throughout the game as they are very good at the breakdown to get the ball.

These are a few of the things we must work on, but as I said we are happy with our performance, we had good attacks and the new players are growing with the experience and adding to the team. Looking to the future, this will be the start of the season and that is how we see it.

Christmas is a bit of a holiday, although for high-performance sportspeople holidays don’t really exist, even more so having just started the season. We have a few days off, mostly to recover the weeks spent in preparation, so training sessions are lighter, there is more massage and the goal is to get the body back to its best place before we kick-off the harder preparations ahead of our next tournament.

Helping those less fortunate

I will also play these two weeks with the Olímpico RC, the club where I started, and for whom I signed after Dubai. The sevens season is a tournament shorter and there are periods with less activity. In December and February there are no series tournaments so I can play a few games for my club instead and I signed with them to play in the Honor League.

I haven’t played at home for some time with preparation for the Olympic Games and Women’s Rugby World Cup and because I played for a few years in New Zealand with the Waikato Rugby Union and two seasons in France. I am very happy to come back home to play for my club, with my mates and will try to use these weeks with no international competition to be at home, with friends and family, enjoying club rugby.

High-performance sportspeople have to be careful during the festive season, looking after what you eat and drink and avoid over eating and drinking. You continue training every day, you are an elite sportswoman every day of the year so when I eat with the family I try to eat lamb, fish and seafood as they are good for the proteins and avoid sweets and chocolates. Fortunately, I don’t have a sweet tooth so it is not really a sacrifice for me.

With the national team we go into camp on 8 January to prepare for the HSBC Sydney Sevens, although we continue to work on our fitness and a few of the girls play for their clubs.

Christmas time is a great time to add our time and effort in support of those who aren’t as lucky as us. We think about those in hospital, kids with cancer and families with less opportunities and chances for different situations, health or social context, so I encourage everybody to add their pinch of salt to making people’s lives better.

At the club we are collecting a kilogram of food from each member to reach those less fortunate and we are organising to visit hospitals to help them.